T Nation

U.S. Life Expectancy


I remember someone posting a while ago that the U.S. has one of the highest (or maybe the highest, I don't remember) life expectancies when controlled for things like accidents and violence. I'm curious if anyone can link me the statistics, or possibly the thread in which this is discussed.

Also, this strikes me as interesting since we're commonly quoted as lagging behind other industrialized countries in this sort of thing. Any thoughts/discussion?


I would think the more relevant measurements would come from survival rates, not life expectancies.


Mankiw on life expectancies.


The book you are looking for is :

It was discussed in several articles like this:


It only proves that lots of things affect mortality besides medical treatment. Heath Ledger didn't die at age 28 because the American health care system failed him.

One big reason our life expectancy lags is that Americans have an unusual tendency to perish in homicides or accidents. We are 12 times more likely than the Japanese to be murdered and nearly twice as likely to be killed in auto wrecks.

In their 2006 book, The Business of Health, economists Robert L. Ohsfeldt and John E. Schneider set out to determine where the U.S. would rank in life span among developed nations if homicides and accidents are factored out. Their answer? First place.


Thanks for the links.


What Orion said. The American "way of life" isn't all that different to that of many other Western countries, the dip in life expectancy can soley be attributed to idiots who drink and drive, eat unhealthy, pop pills etc.


..i disagree. Not taking into account the "idiots who drink and drive, eat unhealthy, pop pills etc." is like saying Sudan has the same life expectancy the West has if it weren't for hunger, deathsquads and a lack of fresh water. I think the USA is a unique society in this regard compared to other first world nations due to the rigors everyday life places on the working class american. Rigors on a level you won't find anywhere else in the first world commonwealth...


When people die due to situations in their control, it's very different to people who die for lack of food, water, medical care etc.

Things outside of their control.


..all these things are outside their control, Mak. If there is no water to drink, or food to eat, then that's outside my control. So, to me, the argument is flawed; you can't disregard causes of death and then say, "life expectancy in the USA is the highest!"

..you living in NZ have a better life expectancy than an american, and i'll bet that your quality of life is higher as well [subjective i know]...


You seem to miss that those statistics are used to argue that the American health care system is worse than it actually is.

If you were talking about quality of life I´d agree.


..aha, thanks for clearing that up, orion...